I hope by now you understand what I mean when you read the title of this entry (and the past two). What I’m not saying is “there should be no worship in a song service”. Nor am I saying that folks who do refer to a song service as “worship” are heretics. It’s more of a lack of diligence in guarding our tongues than it is pre-meditated sin.
Rather than saying “Wasn’t the worship wonderful today?”, say “Wasn’t the worship during the song service wonderful today?”. Instead of saying “Isn’t the worship awesome at our church!” you could say “Isn’t the way our congregation worships when it sings awesome!” This is a subtle but huge difference! Of course, we need to also praise God for the way He expresses Himself in other areas of a service.
In fact, the highest form of corporate worship is not even singing! It is receiving the preached word of God. There are higher forms of worship than even that. Christ said that greater love hath no man than this: that he lay down his life for his friends (John 15:13). In the most famous sermon in history (Matt 5-7) no where is singing mentioned in the worship life of the believer. Singing is certainly not implied as the chief method of worship in Romans 12, either.
To restate, it is important to keep corporate song services in their proper biblical perspective. We must keep our singing in the correct biblical hierarchy. “Worship” is the set and “singing” is a sub-set. “Worship” is the heading and “singing” is a sub-point. To make “singing” and “worship” synonymous is an erroneous as calling “marital relations” “marriage”. Just as a marriage is more than the bedroom, worship is more than singing to Christ. It is a life lived to the glory of God!
There was a day when fasting was made synonymous with worship and here is what the Lord had to say about that:
Cry loudly, do not hold back; Raise your voice like a trumpet, And declare to My people their transgression And to the house of Jacob their sins. 2 “Yet they seek Me day by day and delight to know My ways, As a nation that has done righteousness And has not forsaken the ordinance of their God. They ask Me for just decisions, They delight in the nearness of God. 3′Why have we fasted and You do not see? Why have we humbled ourselves and You do not notice?’ Behold, on the day of your fast you find your desire, And drive hard all your workers. 4 “Behold, you fast for contention and strife and to strike with a wicked fist. You do not fast like you do today to make your voice heard on high. 5 “Is it a fast like this which I choose, a day for a man to humble himself? Is it for bowing one’s head like a reed And for spreading out sackcloth and ashes as a bed? Will you call this a fast, even an acceptable day to the LORD? 6 “Is this not the fast which I choose, To loosen the bonds of wickedness, To undo the bands of the yoke, And to let the oppressed go free And break every yoke? 7 “Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry And bring the homeless poor into the house; When you see the naked, to cover him; And not to hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 “Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of theLORD will be your rear guard. 9 “Then you will call, and the LORD will answer Isa 58:1-9 NASU
Please don’t be deceived into thinking that you are a model Christian because you are a standout singer and worshiper in a corporate setting. Yes, to worship corporately is very important. But even more important is a life of fruit-bearing; more important is a life of humility and brokenness and grace; more important is a life of love outside of a corporate setting. May we all repent from our self-deception and may it make our corporate worship even more legitimate and biblical!